The most recent issue of Sein und Werden offers up a selection of works tied to the theme "Glamourama". The contents are highly polished, as if the contributors wrapped their harlots and hit-men in the slinkiest sequined gowns and perfectly tailored tuxedos, then Rachel Kendall invited them to an arsenic cocktail party where you're the guest of honor. The highlight of the evening is slicing away the diamonds and dance routines to reveal the skeletons hidden under all the make-up.
The title of Rhys Hughes "A Dame Abroad" should give you an idea of the wit you can expect from his short story about a private eye (literally, an eye) stalked through his dreams by the epitome of "a dame". As I read through this story I kept saying, "damn, I wish I'd thought of that simile." Sean Gill performs the most delicate balancing act in "Chivalry's Dead", getting us to identify with a psychopathic narrator who feels as much emotion when he kills as you do when you tie your shoes. Madhvi Ramani's divinely acerbic "The Manager" flawlessly caricatures reality TV, rapidly cranking up the absurdity of cameras following a washed-up celebrity 24-7, but still remaining completely believable. I'm waiting for a major network to announce their first season of Carey Comes Back! any day now. Sissy Pantelis tinkers with mythology in "Ungodly Diva", setting the Hades' courtship of his wife (or perhaps it's the other way around) in a contemporary world of seedy agents and unsavory acting jobs and late night parties. As I read Cecelia Chapman's "Not for Long" I kept wondering if she modeled her protagonist on John McAfee, the paranoid programming genius who went off the rails and absconded to Belize where he hid out with a small arsenal of firearms and a few deadly (and underage) women.
It's always impossible to categorize an issue of Sein und Werden--there's a mixture of irony and horror, poetry and fiction, words and visual art--but if you queue up Sinatra on your play list and spend a few hours with "Glamourama" you should find something to put a malicious sparkle in your barbotage.